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Neil Harbisson gives a lecture in Kyiv in terms of #MeeTheFuture project

Neil Harbisson gives a lecture in Kyiv in terms of #MeeTheFuture project

British visionary artist and composer is considered to be the first officially recognized cyborg in the world.

British visionary artist and composer Neil Harbisson, 34, who is considered to be the first officially recognized cyborg in the world, gave a lecture in Kyiv. He came to Ukraine on the invitation of the Zagoriys family within the framework of the #MeeTheFuture project.

Due to the congenital achromatopsia, Neil can’t see colors. In 2004 he implanted an antenna with microchips in his head – the device allowed him to hear the sound vibrations of colors. A year later the British government allowed him to pose for a photo in his passport with antenna and by that officially recognized Neil as a cyborg.

“Mahatma Gandhi said once: be the change that you wish to see in the world. That’s exactly what this man did. He saw the world in a way he wanted to and became the first human cyborg,” Glib Zagoriy, the owner of the PrJSC Pharmaceutical Firm Darnitsa said as he introduced Neil Harbisson to the audience.

He pointed out that Neil feels the range of colors, invisible to ordinary people.

“Can you imagine how rapidly the world is changing? Some 5-7 years ago we were happy like kids when we saw a jacket with the GPS tracker while traveling to a ski resort!” Zagoriy said as an example.

During his lecture, Neil Harbisson confessed that in his childhood he was trying to ignore the existence of colors. But it was hard for him because people around were constantly talking about colors. He found it hard to study the geographical maps, distinguish the national flags of the countries, and define people by the color of their eyes or the color of their clothes.

“I’ve found out that in 1675 Isaac Newton created a theory, in which he tied every color of the rainbow to the musical note. I got interested in a connection of color with a sound. Every color has its own frequency and this frequency has its sound. Therefore I should create a system that allows hearing a sound of color – that’s what I exactly did in 2004,” Neil explained.

Together with a friend he created a web camera that allowed feeling a frequency of color first. Neil remembered the sounds of red, blue, yellow colors. Later he implanted an antenna with microchips in his own head and now he feels the vibration of colors – not only those in front of him but also those, other people send him via the internet.

Neil is confident that cyber body modifications can be used in different ways. In particular – medicine. For example, he feels ultraviolet and therefore he can understand when it is safe to sunbath and when the sun is dangerous for him.

His friend Moon Ribas uses cyber modification in art: the online seismic sensor, implanted in her leg, allows her to feel earthquakes from different parts of the planet.

“When she feels an earthquake she starts to dance. Through her feelings she creates new types of art – music, composed by the Earth itself,” Neil explained.

Also, Moon Ribas feels the quakes on the surface of the Moon.

“A man landed the Moon in 20 century. In 21 century we observe the Moon enters our body. We call ourselves sensetronauts: we explore Space without being there physically,” Harbisson said.

Also, the new technologies will allow people to understand the world, the nature around them better.

“We could make a contact with other species because they do have many senses, we don’t. If I see my cat staring at a wall, I also look at it and see infrared shimmer there. So I understand my cat wasn’t staring at a wall, it was checking the infrared light,” Harbisson said as an example.

The cyborg also sees an ethical moment in the modification of the human body: the more feeling and options the human body has, the lesser a human will need to change the world around him.

“If you have a night vision, you won’t waste energy to create artificial light. If you can control the body temperature, you won’t need heaters. It is more ethical to change yourself, not the world around you,” Harbisson thinks.

Glib Zagoriy pointed out that he also sees a possible direction of the personalized medicine of the future development in cyber modifications of the human body.

“We must be ready that a tomorrow will be here in a second. Moreover, my company has been already not only looking into modern technology but also started actively investing in it,” the owner of Darnitsa said.

#MeeTheFuture – is the cycle of lectures, initiated and supported by the Zagoriy Family Foundation. The main goal of the project is to introduce the active and creative part of the Ukrainian society to the latest economic, social, technological, cultural, psychological and media trends setters.

The organizers stated that they deliver the outstanding samples of future in Ukraine.

The cycle started by the series of lectures of the Berkeley Business School of the University of California (USA) and the co-founder of the Silicon Valley-based company TeleSense Naeem Zafar. At the end of September 2018, the professor gave a lecture at the conference Business Wisdom Summit in Kyiv and also at the Kyiv School of Economics.

There he spoke in front of the Anti-terroristic operation veterans- listeners of the entrepreneurship course, also supported by the Zagoriy Family Foundation.

On October 9 2018 Alexander Bard, a visioner, futurologist, and the author of the bestseller “ Netocracy – The New Power Elite And Life After Capitalism” also gave a lecture within the framework of the project.

#MeeTheFuture platform united more than 200 state, political, civic and cultural figures, a well as businessmen and creative class representatives. The meeting took place in the form of a lecture by Alexander Bard and the question-answer session that allowed to involve guests into the dynamic and high-quality dialog.